Friday, 18 February 2011

Glimpse of the future

This article from the XPLanation : What the educational technology world can expect - convergence, product evolution, and problems with metadata management : is a bit outside what I usually cover.

However it raises so many important issues :

He postulates by autumn 2012 tablet devices will take up 25% of HE computing devices in HE.
Students will be using these for sheer convenience : they are for e-books or word-p[rocessing but for convenience....
E-Books are disruptive and libraries will find them hard to come to terms with and manage.

They aren't learning to think critically...

Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, a book (Univ. Of Chicago Press)by Richard Arum, derives from an unusual study that followed several thousand undergraduates in the USA through 4 years of study. The important finding is that 45% of students made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college. After four years, 36% showed no significant gains in these so-called "higher order" thinking skills.
Being able to be critical about what you find and read and then build up an agument is what I am teaching most of the time. Therefore this report is of interesting to me and is a light bulb moment for those of us involved in Information Literacy. For more see here and here.

Five years Later Library 2.0 and Balance

These two massive articles by Walt Crawford are full of insights. Taken from Cites and Insights vol.11, nos.2 and 3 they are of great interest to anyone interested in the Library 2.0 phenomenon. I shall not begin to summarise them : your time is better spent taking a look through them! I am just in awe of anyone having the time and dedication to produce such material.
Here is the first part and here is the second part.

Don't make it easy for them!

I'm catching up with some posts at last! Been too busy with teaching lately (we did have to see 400 students in groups of 8 over 3 days...) but enough of excuses!

Don't make it easy for them was a little article on ACRLog by Andy Burkhardt of Champlain College, Vermont.
He says :
"I love customer service in libraries. I love improving our systems and services so they are more user-friendly. I love helping students with their research and answering their questions. But I don’t want to make things easy for students. If I did, I wouldn’t be giving them what they want: an education."

Then he goes into the old quandary : are we there to guide or do the work for them?
I understand this only too well because in a few moments I have to e-maila student about books on outsourcing. He seems to expect me to recommend an exact book and if there are no books with that subject keyword or title, we have failed. So do I take the easy way out and go search through dozens of book indexes or spend as long explaining how to do it in an e-mail? I shall do the latter but as Andy says "it's hard work" and "If my job is starting to seem easy, I’m doing something wrong."

Pic is of our learning space in the 70s. So they used to work in groups then too!

Images of QR codes

We have been experimenting with QR codes here at University of Bedfordshire. If you need some neat images of QR codes I recommend you go to Robin Ashford's set of QR codes on flickr here.

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

This occasional paper "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century" is by Henry Jenkins (MIT) and others. It is published by the MacArthur Foundation and springs from their major initiative in 2006 to investigate how young people are being affected by digital technologies to learn, play, socialise and participate in civic life.

It talks a lot about a participatory cultures.

To quote :

"Some have argued that children and youth acquire these key skills and competencies on their
own by interacting with popular culture.Three concerns, however, suggest the need for policy
and pedagogical interventions:
The Participation Gap — the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and
knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow.
The Transparency Problem — The challenges young people face in learning to see
clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world.
The Ethics Challenge — The breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and
socialization that might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media
makers and community participants."

It's a useful document for anyone researching how the present generation learn and for explaining the challenges we face in supporting them.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Peer review : trial by Twitter